We love to sleep and believe so much of feeling good physically and mentally is about getting a full night sleep. So why is it that we don’t think a lot about how to prepare for bedtime to get quality sleep? Just like taking care of your skin or your diet, you actually have to work to on your sleep. We’ve vowed to make 2018 ‘The Year of Good Sleep’ by implementing a couple habits into our daily routine.
Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. This is especially hard on the weekends where you might stay up later but try to avoid sleeping in if you can.
Spend more time outside during daylight. Spending time outdoors has a plethora of benefits for your health, from your eyesight to your psychological well being, but did you know it could also help you get a better night’s sleep? If you can, have your morning coffee outside right after you wake up and even in the cold months try to take a walk in the middle of the day. This will regulate your melatonin production and help maintain your circadian rhythm.
Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime. Screens signal our brain to be awake so it’s important to put down your phone, laptop and turn off the TV to make sure your hormones and sleep cycle are on track.
Be smart about napping. Napping can feel like an impossible luxury but it’s actually extremely beneficial for your mental and physical performance. If you’re working hard at not sleeping in on the weekends, take a 15-30 minute midafternoon nap to catch up on sleep. Studies have also found that naps make you more creative.
When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark and cool. Just like screens, any light will trigger your brain to think it’s time to be awake. Make sure you’ve blocked out any streetlights or electronic lights so that your body will continue to pump out your much-needed melatonin.
Exercise during the day (even for 10 minutes). Walking briskly or riding your bike can improve how quickly you fall asleep and the quality of your sleep. Typically, it’s best to do it every day and not right before bed.
Limit caffeine during the day and avoid alcohol and liquids before bed. Caffeine is a stimulant so you’ll want to give it plenty of time to leave your body before trying to sleep. While alcohol can make it easier to fall asleep it actually gives you a worse quality of sleep. If you have to have coffee during the day have it by 1 pm and your ‘nightcap’ by 6 pm.
Have a happy thought ready if you wake up in the middle of the night. If you do wake up in the middle of the night don’t look at your phone or get up, just try to be still and let your mind wander. A lot of times this is when to-do lists and next day activities start popping into our head but try to have a go-to thought that makes you happy – a person, a scene or an upcoming trip- soon you’ll be back asleep in no time.
Have some tips for getting good sleep or falling asleep? Let us know below!